GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Uintah (3-6, 1-5) at Desert Hills (7-2, 4-2), Thunder Stadium, tonight, 7 p.m.
Previous Meeting: Thunder 16, Utes 2 (Aug. 21, 2009 at DH)
Broadcast: ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM, with Devin Dixon on play by play
Classification: 3AA, North Region
Coach: Cody Reutzel (2nd year, 4-14 overall)
Last game: Lost to Bear River 32-27
Players to watch: Uintah has pretty good balance on offense. For sure, QB Braxton Coonis is the key player. he’s passed for 2,184 yards and rushed for 510 more. But RB Tyson Colton gets plenty of touches as well (91 carries, 453 yards). Like so many spread teams, many pass plays turn into run plays, plus the read option is always key. A pair of WRs, Hayden Bunderson and Hunter Connelly, have teamed up for 64 receptions, 1,112 yards and 11 TDs. Eight different Utes have caught 10 passes or more, including Colton.
Trend: Uintah’s only region win came three weeks ago against winless Ben Lomond in a blowout. But the Utes have had several near-misses, including a two-point loss to Tooele and a five-point loss to Bear River. Both of those games were in the last couple of weeks, so Uintah has been decent late in the season. But the fact remains that the Utes lost to bad teams like Park City and Ogden.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Carl Franke (2nd year, 15-6 overall)
Offense: Spread, pistol
Last game: Beat Hurricane 32-10
Players to watch: Sophomore QB Nick Warmsley produced a good game last week and has passed for 1,291 yards and 10 TDs this year. RB Bridger Cowdin has back to back 100-yard games. RB Landen Broadhead had his longest run of the year with a 30-yard TD jaunt last week. WR Jordan Hokanson was suspended for the first quarter for breaking team rules, but made up for it by catching a pair of TD passes. The DH defense allowed no first downs after halftime against Hurricane. LBs Tucker Cowdin and Sil Bundy led the charge. Cowdin has 6.5 sacks and leads the team with 87 tackles and Bundy isn’t far behind.
Trend: The Hurricane win helped heal some wounds for DH, which had hopes for a region title dashed mid-season. But the ultimate prize, a state championship, is still a possibility as the Thunder get a home game here and then a possible trip to Stansbury (DH beat the Stallions earlier this year) next week. Only one opponent has scored more than 16 points on the Thunder this season. having lockdown corners like Braden Reber helps the defense take more chances with the blitz.
Uintah has been decent offensively this season, even scoring 16 on undefeated Juan Diego. But no one plays defense like Desert Hills and Uintah will be hard-pressed to even get first downs. The Utes do pass the ball fairly well, so that gives them a fighting chance. But the Thunder probably need only 10 points or so to get a win. With Cowdin and Warmsley getting better and better, that should be no problem.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (40-7) — Desert Hills
Darren Cole (35-12) — Desert Hills
Parry’s spread: DH by 42
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